I am happy to announce that we are relaunching DigitalRVA, a free community for Richmond’s digital marketers. Our immediate goal is to help connect digital marketers, share stories and experiences, and amplify our members’ voices in the region. It’s also a chance to exchange ideas and get to know other professionals in a relaxed and friendly environment.
In my experience, magical things happen when data geeks get together. And now is a perfect time to expand our networks and support each other with knowledge and opportunities for growth. Our initial focus is on connecting our community to share comeback plans, information, and encouragement as we explore a strange, new future.
Interested? Read on to learn more about DigitalRVA or head to DigitalRVA.com to check out our upcoming events.
Why Richmond? Why now?
Richmond has a strong reputation for advertising and marketing excellence. So it’s no surprise that RVA is also home to a diverse and generous community of digital marketers with talent that rivals the best in the business.
In 2017 and 2018, I helped organize an informal series of geeky gatherings called the Richmond Digital Marketing Meetups, or DigitalRVA for short. We regularly attracted 50-75 marketers with speakers and panel discussions on a wide range of topics related to data-driven marketing. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet and mingle with like-minded folks, but our events eventually came to an end as the other organizers and I got busy.
What did we learn in DigitalRVA 1.0 and how will we improve this time around?
We learned a lot from our previous events. Here’s how we plan to make it even better while acknowledging the limitations of a virtual, socially distanced series of meetups.
- The networking component of our IRL events was critical to helping people feel engaged in dialogue rather than being spoken to from a stage. We will find ways to connect virtually until we can meet safely in person again starting with a Slack community and email newsletter.
- Our best speakers and stories can come from anywhere. Members valued speakers from all levels of knowledge, not just the pros and talking heads. I believe diversity of perspectives and backgrounds is essential for a thriving community. We will ensure our community can learn from traditionally underrepresented groups and speakers from all levels of experience.
- Panels and lightning talks generated the most positive feedback. We will keep the virtual events short and sweet while striking a balance between breadth and depth of content.
- Sales pitches and self-promotion are a huge turn off for attendees. Our speaker selection process and community guidelines are designed to encourage valuable information sharing and discourage blatant self-promotion.
- In-person events are great but travel and timing can create friction or prevent some people from attending entirely. Our events will be virtual until we can meet safely again in person. At that point, we will explore a hybrid series with some in-person and some virtual components.
- The meetup.com platform has severe limitations and is not great for engagement or conversation. In the coming months, we are going to shut down the group on meetup.com and encourage people to join the Slack channel to keep the conversations going.
Great! What’s next?
Here are three immediate items and some future opportunities to get involved.
- Check out our upcoming events and community guidelines at DigitalRVA.com. Sign up for the first event here.
- Join our Slack channel and sign up for our email newsletter to stay up to date and keep the conversations going between events. Want to hear from a specific speaker or more about a particular topic? Have ideas for future events? Share your ideas to expand and improve the community in the #feedback Slack channel.
- Want to share your stories and experiences? Submit a speaker pitch to be considered for future events.
I am looking forward to getting together in person as soon as possible. Until then, I’ll see you online!